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Sarasota man among Mars One Mission finalists

There are 100 candidates to make the one-way trip on the Mars One Mission and one of them lives in Sarasota.
Lennart Lopin, a 37-year-old husband and father of four ages 10 to 2 years old, is willing to say goodbye for a one-way trip to Mars.

Sarasota, Florida -- Mars, it has been the center of many sci-fi movies and books, and now there's a group making plans to colonize the planet. There are 100 candidates to make the one-way trip on the Mars One Mission and one of them lives in Sarasota.

"I really believe someone has to try it in the type of pioneer spirit," says Lennart Lopin, a finalist for the Mars One Mission. "This is going to start very small, like America's Jamestown."

Lopin, a 37-year-old husband and father of four ages 10 to 2 years old, is willing to say goodbye for a one-way trip to Mars. He says it's his legacy to his children.

"The main motivation is setting up a second home for mankind," says Lopin.

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The Mars One Mission would send six teams of four every two years starting in 2024 to live in preset pods.

Despite a series of privately-funded unmanned missions planned ahead of time to test it out including launching a Mars Lander and Communication Satellite in 2018, Lopin admits the mission is risky.

"Any depressurization and we're dead. Any mistake that happens and you'll die. It's going to be pretty dangerous," says Lopin.

The software engineer's fascination with space and space travel started when he was a young boy. He surrounds himself with books about it.

He says some of first memories he had was watching the stars and moon, and wanting to leave.

He also thinks that when he left home at 18 to live as a Buddhist monk in Sri Lanka for three years and was cut off from his family will help him land one of the final 24 spots on the mission.

Lopin says the book by Dr. Robert Zubrin called, "The Case for Mars," convinced him Mars is worth exploring as a second planet to live. He says the technology is also there to make it happen.

Lopin realizes many think he's crazy.

"No, not crazy -- but not normal," he says.

If Lopin makes it to Mars, he'll see Earth in sky as the sun sets and he waits for the next group of four astronauts to arrive.

"Despite all odds, we will make it, we will survive," he says.

The trip is risky and costly it'll cost $6 billion for the first manned mission. The group is struggling to raise $400,000 to help launch its most important unmanned mission in 2018. According to its website, the group has fallen about $83,000 short.

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